Critical Analysis of Challenges Associated with the Failure of Construction Projects

1. 12. 2023

Main Body

The rapid rise in the complexities of construction projects has induced a variety of challenges in risk management and planning. It is so because successful projects require high-design knowledge and competent technical skills to shape the project's outcomes. Moreover, the rapid increase in technology has increased the cost of construction projects, which is imposing great difficulties in the management of risk. Along with this, the speed of adopting technology could be faster in the construction industry, which emerges as a barrier to the success of the project. In addition, time overrun and iterative cost are also identified as challenges in the success of projects as it delays the attainment of pre-determined objectives that were planned initially. Noruwa, Arewa & Merschbrock (2022) conducted a mixed research study by performing a survey and presented that difficulty in aligning with technology acts as a barrier to project success and causes risk for areas such as manufacturing and construction. Integration with technical advancement acts such as drones, construction wearables, artificial intelligence, and mapping helps ensure effective project risk management. Furthermore, Alsharef et al. (2020), explored that project success depends on various factors such as skilled workforce, risk management, and proper planning, as all these factors contribute to resolving management difficulties and offer a clear work direction for enhancing efficiency. Moreover, another significant challenge hindering project success is cost overruns which cause the issue of over-estimation and exceed the pre-determined budgets, thereby disrupting the project efficiency. In addition, the lack of adequate risk management is a significant issue as it negatively impacts the project's success and worsens the problems in construction projects by disrupting project success. Along with this, the skills shortage is another vital problem that impacts the success of construction projects by leading to ineffective operations.

Furthermore, Mhetre, Konnur & Landage (2016) engaged in performing a qualitative study and analyzed that construction projects are constantly surrounded by several risk factors as there is a prevalence of high uncertainty. However, the risk is an integral part of any project regardless of the operations, sector or size. Moreover, better consideration and effective use of strategies for risk management might lead to project success. The various types of risks that hinder the project's success are technical, financial, organizational, physical, socio-political, and environmental risks. However, risks in the project can be identified by brainstorming, as it helps in the determination of prevailing threats to the project. Along with this, risk probability and impact assessment are also performed for the examination of risk factors. Furthermore, other quantitative methods, such as scenario analysis and decision trees, are also prominent in risk identification.

Furthermore, Rezakhani (2012) highlighted various factors that disrupt the success of projects, such as inherent uncertainties, profit fluctuations, job-site productivity, contractual rights, political situations, and increased competition. Mitigating these factors is difficult, which widens the challenges for the project's success. Due to this, there is a high need for diverting focus on analyzing the possible impacts of these challenges and risks on project objectives. The effective consideration of these challenges with proper management helps in finding alternative solutions, precise estimates, and higher chances of attaining objectives. It is also analyzed that ignorance of potential risk factors on project success acts as a huge challenge in project success.

From the viewpoint of De Almeida et al. (2015), technical challenges are highly prevalent in the construction industry, which enhances the risk factors for project success, such as scope changes, incomplete designs, improper site investigation, and poor availability of resources. However, risk avoidance effectively gives positive direction to the project so that project objectives are attained. Moreover, projects can also transfer their risk to third parties who take the entire management charge. For instance-technical professionals can be hired to overcome the challenges in project success. But on the other hand, the prevalence of several challenges reduces motivation and gives rise to project cost overruns.

Moreover, Alotaibi & Mafimisebi (2021) conducted a qualitative study and presented that the project environment in the 21st century is prone to immense uncertainty, high complexity, and stiff competition. The projects are expanded and operated on a large scale, leading to increase in project costs and extensive participation of stakeholders in project success. Costing, resource estimation and setting deadlines are major challenges in project success, as poor forecasting by project managers hinders the overall process and causes costing problems. Similarly, a lack of control measures in a project leads to better integration of efforts and results in effective project execution. However, scheduling work tasks and anticipating risk factors with proper management and leadership are prominent in mitigating the challenges. In addition, Imam & Zaheer (2021) surveyed 236 project members and evaluated that project administration, leadership, and management are crucial for determining the success of a project. The role of project leaders is analyzed as a significant factor in motivating the project members to provide creative outcomes and develops high enthusiasm for achieving the project objectives. Effective leaders help in promoting collaboration and teamwork among the members and have immense potential to minimize risk factors and attain project objectives. However, ineffective and negligent leadership is prone to poor consideration of project goals and leads to poor transfer of vision and responsibility, thereby leading to project failure. Due to this, team cohesion, democratic leadership, and consideration of workers' needs are prioritized to ensure project success. Malik et al. (2020) evaluated that poor consideration of sustainable operations hinders the project's success, and inefficient operations lead to negative environmental impacts, thereby minimizing stakeholders' satisfaction. It is also a huge challenge which leads to project failures. In addition, Durmic (2020) conducted mixed research by surveying 108 professionals and explored that challenges such as frequent market changes, social changes, and exponential technology are major factors that can cause the failure of a project. The PMI survey provided findings that 41% of the projects encounter failure because of ineffective leadership and lack of support from sponsors. In addition, the study highlighted that improper project control which emerges as a reason for management issues, poor project monitoring, and lack of quality assurance, leads to project failures. Along with this, workers might showcase resistance to change, which is another major challenge for hampering the success of the project as the project needs to be able to cope with dynamic surroundings.


It has been concluded that the frequent modifications in market dynamics, high uncertainties, and increase in complexities in the project are acting as prominent challenges that are leading to project failures. Along with this, a lack of risk management and ineffective planning is developing difficulties in attaining the desired objectives of the project. It is so because a lack of planning resulted in inaccurate budgeting and overestimated costs and hampered the completion of work on the decided deadlines. Moreover, it has been analysed that a shortage of skilled workers, poor management, and project administration are barriers to the project's success. Overestimated goals and objectives and unrealistic deadlines disrupt the efficiency of projects and cause huge delays in project completion, thereby leading to failures. However, the implementation of effective techniques such as effective integration of technology and adapting to the frequent market changes helps in overcoming challenges in project success.

Along with this, it has also been examined that using risk management ideas such as brainstorming, risk probability, impact assessment, scenario analysis, and decision trees can help solve the identified problem of project failures. Furthermore, it is assessed that risk identification is extremely significant to minimize the chances of project failures as it helps evaluate whether the risks impact project objectives or not. In addition, effective leadership and management are also vital solutions that are identified for overcoming the challenges of project success as they help in inducing effective adaptation among employees. Lastly, having a good amount of control over the operations of the project is a significant factor that fosters the attainment of project success.


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Author: Marco Garcia, student LIGS University
Approved by: Dr. Catherine Muthu, lecturer LIGS University

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